Every successful enterprise has one thing in common; good and regular communication at all levels of the organisation. Communication is not only necessary to inform everyone of the company goals and direction, it enhances the work environment, keeps projects humming and establishes trust. Ad-hoc, casual conversation can be fun and build relationships between co-workers but official communication needs processes to ensure it is effective.
Information, in general, does not just happen. Information comes from research and data which has been collected, thought about and structured, at which point it becomes information, which in turn becomes knowledge. Without even thinking about it, we do this all the time in our work and personal lives. At times it is all in our head but mostly it becomes a letter, an email or a report and it can be shared.
For information to be effectively disseminated, it needs to be managed with policies and processes and a system which is accessible for all to use, regardless of location and/or time.
Sharing information should be actively encouraged. The more the “collective” are kept informed, the greater the benefit and opportunities for new ideas to emerge. Information does not become knowledge if it is only on an individual’s hard drive or in their head. Keep communication open and ensure it is not only from the top down, but can go in all directions all of the time.
An enterprise-wide records management system will keep records in a consistent manner. For example, keywords from a single data dictionary, the same search tools, the same search interface, all of which reduces the guesswork and increases the ability to find the most appropriate material.
Other core business systems such as accounting and customer records systems contain valuable data which, when extracted efficiently, can provide insights into customer behaviour, purchasing history and other business trends. This is ‘big data’ which is only getting bigger and should not just be stored but mined and shared.
Training is essential, not only during the induction phase, but ongoing training and training to use the core systems should be an on-going process. Have a program in place, don’t just provide a manual and leave it to the individual, they will only use it as a last resort.
Not just the internet but an intranet with a portal, a single entry to records management, to the CRM, to company news and events, anything that keeps staff informed, engaged, and simplifies accessibility.
With well-managed records, available 24/7, day-to-day operations can be performed effectively, and surprise events can also be managed effectively.
Always look for ways to improve, regular assessment can pay significant dividends. And at times, communicate as effectively as you can at all times and at all levels of the organisation.